The president of Santander and Universia, Ana Botín, summoned this morning the XIX General Meeting of Shareholders of Universia in the new headquarters of Santander Spain, together with the president of Crue Spanish Universities, José Carlos Gómez; President of Santander Universities, Matías Rodríguez Inciarte; and the CEO of Universia, Javier Roglá, in a meeting with rectors and academic representatives of all Spanish universities and part of Latin America and 150 beneficiaries of the first edition of the Santander Erasmus Scholarship program.
During her speech, Ana Botín pointed out that everything indicates that we can have a government in Spain with reasonable stability to adopt future policies and promote the necessary reforms and has asked the rectors to defend “firmly” the need to promote the education reform as a priority. “We need a more open framework, which allows us to manage in a more agile way and with a greater capacity to make the vocation of the university a reality; more autonomy, with more accountability, to be able to assume greater responsibilities and more commitments,” she insisted.
The President of Universia has stated that "the will of consensus cannot be a reason for paralysis and inaction" and has ensured that "it is time to make decisions and move decisively." "If we do not take action, we will be left behind and we will not achieve the goals of sustainable and inclusive growth," he stressed.
Ana Botín has reaffirmed the bank's commitment to higher education, a commitment that will be specified, among other actions, in the granting of more than 70,000 scholarships this year. And she has expressed her desire for Universia to become “a first level platform, leader in services, and the best in scope and content, not only for Universities, but for University Students”.
Botín has referred, on the other hand, to cybersecurity, as one of the most important challenges we have to face and has announced that the next University Board will be held in León and will be done in collaboration with INCIBE, which is the Spanish National Institute for Cybersecurity.
Likewise, Ana Botín has referred to the employability of university students in an environment in which, according to different studies, artificial intelligence and robotics will replace between 40 and 50% of current jobs in a period of 15 to 20 years. This may affect the employment of between 400 and 800 million people. In her opinion, the digital revolution will bring new jobs that require “new knowledge and skills that must be acquired throughout the different educational cycles, and consolidate and expand in the university in a permanent dialogue with society and businesses and productive sectors."
Meeting with Santander Erasmus scholars
After the Board of Universia, the President of Santander has maintained a colloquium with five of the 150 beneficiaries of the 1st edition of Erasmus Scholarships present at the event, which has allowed her to learn about the experience and aspirations of Paula Rodríguez, Santander Erasmus in Brussels, Almudena Álvarez and María Alonso, in Paris, Alejandro Villaluenga, in Bologna and Rafael González, beneficiary of a Santander Scholarship to study at the University of Berkeley.
Students have asked Ana Botín about her opinion on the decision to start or work in a large company, the bank's role in the fight for equity and the inclusion and roles of women in the company.
Ana Botín has highlighted the role that banks and the education system can play in changing the world, encouraged young people not to be afraid of failure and to find their motivation. She has defended the need for all people to have access to education and excellence and explained that this is the objective pursued by the bank with its support for universities, one of the axes of its actions as a responsible bank.
Regarding Santander's effort for equality and inclusion, the President explained that "it has been shown that companies with more diverse teams are more profitable" and has encouraged women to "have more confidence in themselves, be more proactive and speak clear".
Santander Bank and its commitment to Education
Banco Santander is the only European bank included in the ‘Change the World’ 2018 ranking of companies that are contributing to improve the world (Fortune magazine) for its positive impact on society, among other criteria. Its firm commitment to Higher Education, which materializes through Santander Universities and Universia, also distinguished it as a company that invests most in Education in the world (Varkey Report / UNESCO / Fortune 500), something that has become one of its hallmarks, with 1,200 collaboration agreements with universities and institutions in more than 20 countries, and more than 350,000 scholarships and grants granted since 2005, 73,000 of them only in 2018, with the aim of contributing to the progress of people, companies and society